Expert Witness

The outcome of any event, such as the lethal use of force resulting in a tragedy, is the outcome of a system. Make sense of the system; you begin to understand the event and the decision-making.

Every situation is complicated with variables that are not easily resolved. Many questions need to be answered in a civil or criminal case involving two or more sides and perspectives. We will never truly understand the entire story, we were not there.  What was the officer perceiving? What actually happened? What observations were missing? What were the human factors, the decision-making factors? The list of variables and systems affecting the outcome is complex and a needed understanding of any analysis. All possible scenarios must be considered objectively from the perspective of reasonableness.

There are always unanswered questions, potentially conflicting goals, multiple perspectives. Multiple stakeholders are involved. Every event is a learning event yet, it is often the case that analysis is focused on affixing or removing blame as compared to improving the system. It is important to have a methodology and strategy that produces the maximum degree of understanding and certainty that the facts allow, and no more.  Aragon National focuses finding the objective truth to the degree and where the facts lead. Use of force events are almost always the result of a system or systems. Use of force events are always a tragedy in that some person has suffered harm. It is imperative that the agency, community, actors, and society learn from and improve such critical events.

The goals of any expert witness analysis is first to understand and then to find ways to improve. Improvement can take many forms whether it is an increase in accountability, better training, better review, or even in the most egregious cases the necessity of punishment. My approach and background includes expertise in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research. My areas of specialty include use of force (Patrol and Corrections), police practices, internal reviews, police command, mobile response teams, mental health practices, and training. Additionally, I look at any event, strategy, or reform plan from a systems approach that includes perspectives ranging from the line officer-supervisor- management, up to and including the community, and society.

The goal of  any analysis is to take a complex event involving overlapping systems and perspectives and make it understandable… To provide insight that was not present before the analysis. Whether the understanding is needed for a jury, to achieve better reform and results from a mediation, or simply to support continuous incremental improvement within an organization… This is what I do.

I render expertise in international, federal and state courts as an expert in the areas of police practices, excessive force, self-defence, and related video of such events. I have advised or testified on over 70 cases, both for the plaintiff and the defendant. The facts and the truth lead to an understanding and ultimately a conclusion. My job as an expert is to increase the understanding and assist all parties involved with improving future outcomes.